Category Archives: Missiles & Guided Weapons

Qualification firing

MBDA has successfully carried out the first qualification firing trial of the Sea Venom/ANL anti-ship missile at the DGA Essais de missiles (DGA EM) test site at Ile Du Levant on 20 February 2020, another significant milestone for the Anglo-French co-operation programme.

MBDA’s Sea Venom/ANL missile succeeds in first qualification firing

The missile was launched from a Dauphin helicopter close to the minimum release height, reaching its cruise phase whilst sea skimming at very low height. During its terminal phase, the aircrew used images from the infrared seeker – transmitted through the datalink – to perform a successful manual aim point refinement. The missile has then followed this designated point until hitting the target with a very high degree of accuracy.

This latest firing builds on two previous ones that have all tested the missile to the very edge of its capability. The previous firings demonstrated Sea Venom/ANL’s Lock On After Launch (LOAL) and Lock On Before Launch (LOBL) capabilities. They also validated its low-altitude sea-skimming flight and its autonomous guidance capability using images from its uncooled Imaging InfraRed (IIR) seeker.

Sea Venom/ANL is a purpose-built anti-ship missile for the French and UK navies’ shipborne helicopters, and is suitable for a wide range of platforms. It will safely engage hostile vessels amongst civilian assets, even in congested littoral environments and will defeat a broad spectrum of targets including small fast-moving craft through to larger ships – at sea or in port – as well as coastal land targets.

Éric Béranger, MBDA CEO, said: «Sea Venom/ANL is the first Anglo-French co-operation programme to take full advantage of our centres of excellence, created following an Inter-Governmental Agreement ratified by both nations’ Parliaments in 2016. MBDA is putting full effort into the successful implementation of the Sea Venom/ANL programme, recognising it should exemplify the benefits of the close co-operation UK and France are sharing in defence – enhancing both nation’s sovereign capabilities in armaments while reducing costs».

The UK Royal Navy will use Sea Venom/ANL on its AW159 Wildcat, replacing Sea Skua, while France’s Marine Nationale will operate the missile from its future Guépard Light Joint Helicopter (HIL – Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger).

Missile on target

MBDA’s Marte Extended Range (ER) anti-ship missile has completed its second firing carried out at the Poligono Interforze del Salto di Quirra (PISQ) test range in Sardinia. This firing confirmed the overall design and performance of the missile marking a critical milestone in its development path.

New Marte Extended Range (ER) missile on target in second test firing

Compared to the first firing, which took place at the end of 2018, several additional features and functionalities were tested. These included an integrated navigation system, proximity fly-over fuze, with weapon controller and actuation system in advanced configuration. The missile also featured the terminal guidance with a new seeker, engineered and developed by the MBDA Seeker Division.

The floating target was hit with «almost zero» miss distance after a flight of about 100 km/62 miles. The missile pushed its envelope to the limit with several major manoeuvres including very low sea skimming at very high speed.

Hitting the target confirmed the perfect behavior of the missile and the telemetry system recorded a huge amount of data. Flight data showed very good alignment with simulation outcomes.

The Marte ER programme is progressing at full speed in order to meet customers’ requirements and the full integration of Marte ER on the Eurofighter Typhoon platform is proceeding at pace in order to implement an anti-ship capability onto the fighter.

 

CHARACTERISTICS

Weight 315 kg/694.5 lbs.
Length 3.60 m/11.81 feet
Maximum body diameter 316 mm/12.44 inch
Range Well beyond 100 km/62 miles
Speed High subsonic

 

SPIKE LR missile

BAE Systems has successfully fired an integrated, long-range anti-tank guided missile from the CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) in a recent series of tests.

BAE Systems’ CV90 increases lethality by testing SPIKE LR anti-tank guided missile

This advancement further diversifies the CV90’s operational capabilities on the battlefield by enabling indirect fire at long distances or at air targets, boosting the vehicle’s lethality while increasing crew safety.

The testing, which took place in difficult arctic conditions, used a Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Spike-LR (long range) missile mounted on a BAE Systems Hägglunds’ CV90 to defeat a target at more than 2,000 metres/6,562 feet. The exercise marks the first time an integrated version of an anti-tank guided missile has been launched from the CV90. It also demonstrates the platform’s versatility to perform a wide range of missions, and shows the CV90 can easily adapt to new technologies for meeting current and future customer needs.

«This integrated anti-tank capability confirms that the CV90 is a true benchmark when it comes to expanding a family of multi-mission armoured fighting vehicles», said Dan Lindell, CV90 platform director at BAE Systems Hägglunds. «This new capability can alter the battlefield dynamic and is yet another example of how the CV90’s already superior mobility and survivability allows the warfighter to pack an even heavier punch in any terrain or weather conditions, and at any time on any battlefield».

The December testing took place in northern Sweden in below freezing temperatures with heavy snowfall and low visibility.

«We fully appreciate Rafael and their Spike team for working with us to demonstrate this important capability and look forward to continuing our collaboration to provide present and future customers with this powerful addition to the CV90’s lethality suite», Lindell said.

The long-range missile testing is yet another recent example of improved lethality on the CV90. BAE Systems is currently executing a Swedish government contract to provide a mortar variant of the CV90 called Mjölner that adds greater mobility to close indirect fire support.

More than 1,200 CV90s of numerous variants are in service with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The vehicle has a combat-proven track record and is designed to accommodate future growth to meet evolving missions.

AMRAAM Production

Raytheon Company was awarded the following contract as announced by the Department of Defense on December 27, 2019.

U.S. Air Force awards Raytheon $768 million Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile contract

Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded a $768,283,907 non-competitive fixed-price incentive (firm) contract for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) Production Lot 33. This contract provides for the production of the AMRAAM missiles, captive air training missiles, guidance sections, AMRAAM telemetry system, spares and other production engineering support hardware.

Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, with an expected completion date of February 28, 2023. This contract involves unclassified foreign military sales to Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and United Kingdom, which accounts for 47% of the contract value. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Air Dominance Division Contracting Office, Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, is the contracting activity.

 

Modern, Versatile and Proven

The AMRAAM air-to-air missile is the world’s most sophisticated air dominance weapon. With more than 25 years of design, upgrades, testing and production, the AIM-120 missile continues to meet all warfighter requirements. Its capabilities have been fully demonstrated in over 4,200 test shots and 10 air-to-air combat victories.

The AMRAAM missile is a versatile and proven weapon with operational flexibility in a wide variety of scenarios, including air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the surface launch role, it is the baseline weapon on the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) launcher.

In the air-to-air role, no other missile compares to the AMRAAM missile. The weapon’s advanced active guidance section provides aircrew with a high degree of combat flexibility and lethality. Its mature seeker design allows it to quickly find targets in the most combat challenging environments.

Procured by 37 countries including the U.S., the combat-proven AMRAAM missile has been integrated onto the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, F-22 Raptor, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado and Harrier. The AIM-120C5 and AIM-120C7 missiles are fully integrated onto the F-35 Lightning II and support the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II Initial Operational Capability (IOC) as the only air-to-air missile qualified on the F-35 Lightning II.

Enforcer missile

MBDA has been awarded by the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) a contract for the acquisition of Enforcer missile systems for the German Armed Forces. Signed on 20 December, the contract will fulfil the German requirement for a lightweight, day/night, precision-guided, shoulder-launched weapon system with an effective range of more than 1,800 m/1.118 mile.

Germany procures Enforcer missiles from MBDA

Thomas Gottschild, Executive Group Director Strategy and Managing Director MBDA Germany said: «The German customer has chosen the Enforcer after a detailed, competitive evaluation for the ‘Leichtes Wirkmittel 1800+’ requirement. With this contract, we are partnering with the German Armed Forces to ensure the Bundeswehr has this comprehensive weapon for years to come».

Éric Béranger, CEO of MBDA said: «With the addition of the shoulder-launched Enforcer, MBDA is now firmly embarked in a complete renewal of its family of battlefield engagement weapons that started with Brimstone 3 and Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP), a Medium Range missile introduced last year into the French Army. Enforcer, MMP and Brimstone now form the core of a portfolio that we hope will see many further developments».

Enforcer provides low-collateral precision effects capabilities against the threat from lightly armoured static and moving targets, targets behind cover, and against targets at long range also in urban environments. Resulting from a multinational MBDA development effort, the Enforcer will complement the ‘Wirkmittel 90’ shoulder-launched unguided munition capability in the German Armed Forces. MBDA is now set to complete qualification, and prepare for series production.

The modular design of the Enforcer system enables a range of future development options, including a prospective ‘family’ of Enforcer munitions for land, air and sea applications.

 

The Enforcer concept is a new lightweight, disposable shoulder-launched guided munition in the 2 km/1.2 mile class. Modular design offers prospect of a future family of Enforcer munitions

Key features of Enforcer at a glance:

  • Fire-and-forget missile system
  • Range up to 2,000 m/1.243 mile
  • High precision over full range
  • Lock-On Before Launch (LOBL)
  • Capability against lightly armoured and soft skinned targets
  • Effect against targets behind cover through airburst capability
  • Multi-effects warhead
  • Enclosed space firing capability
  • Lightweight (missile + launch tube < 9 kg/19.84 lbs.)
  • Day and night operation
  • System weight (sight and two munitions) < 20 kg/44.09 lbs.
  • Missile weight < 7 kg/15.43 lbs.
  • Modular architecture

Griffin Missile Exercise

U.S. Navy coastal patrol ships and U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats conducted an annual test of the MK-60 Griffin guided-missile system in the Arabian Gulf December 10-14.

ARABIAN GULF (December 11, 2019) A Griffin missile is launched from the patrol coastal ship USS Hurricane (PC-3) during a test of the MK-60 Griffin guided-missile system. The exercise demonstrated a proven capability for the ships to defend against small boat threats and ensure maritime security through key chokepoints in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points (Photo by Specialist Terrell Sherman)

The annual exercise was conducted with the improved Griffin Missile System (GMS) to test ship interoperability, weapon tactics employment, and new system upgrades.

«This system improves combat capability on our 10 Patrol Craft, ready to work with regional partners and respond to threats; able to maneuver and strike from a distance», said Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S 5th Fleet.

Exercise participates included Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) patrol coastal ships USS Sirocco (PC-6), USS Tempest (PC-2), USS Squall (PC-7), USS Hurricane (PC-3), USS Whirlwind (PC-11) and island class patrol boats USCGC Adak (WPB-1333), USCGC Aquidneck (WPB-1309), and USCGC Baranof (WPB-1318).

The ships also conducted live fire exercises with their Mark-38 25-mm machine guns and other crew served weapons to maintain operator proficiency and test new equipment upgrades for future missions.

«The data collected from this year’s exercise will help improve the GMS to provide increased lethality amongst our FDNF ships», Lieutenant commander Ronald Jenkins, commanding officer of the USS Sirocco (PC-6). «Each participating ship can apply lessons learned to sharpen individual tactics and procedures to increase precision in weapons employment».

Eager to integrate and demonstrate the upgraded GMS into their ships’ systems, each captain was impressed with its capabilities and the crew’s performance during the exercise.

«This year’s Fire Exercise (FIREX) was an outstanding opportunity for the crews to test our skills and the capabilities of one of our primary weapons systems», said Lieutenant commander Dale Tourtelotte of the USS Hurricane (PC-3). «It was exciting to see my crew and the various technical experts come together and execute the FIREX successfully».

U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

«This exercise addresses a validated requirement to out-pace and decisively defeat small boat threats at a distance», said Vice Admiral Malloy. «We can hold any attacker at risk by employing speed combined with accurate striking power», said Vice Admiral Malloy.

 

MK-60 Griffin Missile System (GMS)

The MK-60 is a surface-to-surface missile system installed for ship self-defense to counter small boat threats.

The Mark-60 GMS is being installed aboard cyclone class ships – Patrol Coastal (PC) combatant. Ten ships will be forward deployed, assigned to Commander, 5th Fleet located in Manama, Bahrain, and installed with the GMS at program completion. Assistant secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition) approved the integration and deployment of the Griffin Missile onboard PC platforms as part of a Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC) leveraging existing Government Off-The-Shelf (GOTS), Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) and Non-Developmental Items (NDI). The RDC for the GMS was approved in June 2011 and achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in October 2013. PC combatants with GMS installed possess a layered small boat defense capability building upon the point defense provided with the Mark-38 gun weapon system. The Mark-60 GMS consists of the following system components: Mark-4 Battle Management System (BMS), Mark-208 griffin launcher module, AN/SSQ-133 BRITE Star II Electro-Optical and InfraRed (EO/IR), Laser Range Finder (LRF) and Linear Displacement (LD) sensor and the BGM-176B Griffin B All-Up-Round (AUR).

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Surface-to-surface missile system for ship self-defense against small boat threats
Contractor Griffin B AUR contractor is Raytheon Missile Systems

BS II contractor is FLIR Systems Inc.

BMS is a Naval Surface Warfare Center- Dahlgren Division (NSWC DD) GOTS

GLM is a NSWC DD GOTS

Date Deployed 2013
Range ~ 3.0 NM/3.45 miles/5.56 km (effective range)
Type Fire Single launch, multiple salvo
Caliber 5 inch/12.7 cm
Guidance System Semi-Active Lock (SAL)
Platforms USS Tempest (PC 2), Manama, Bahrain

USS Hurricane (PC 3), Manama, Bahrain

USS Monsoon (PC 4), Manama, Bahrain

USS Typhoon (PC 5), Manama, Bahrain

USS Sirocco (PC 6), Manama, Bahrain

USS Squall (PC 7), Manama, Bahrain

USS Chinook (PC 9), Manama, Bahrain

USS Firebolt (PC 10), Manama, Bahrain

USS Whirlwind (PC 11), Manama, Bahrain

USS Thunderbolt (PC 12), Manama, Bahrain

 

Major trials milestone

MBDA has successfully completed a series of trials of the Common Anti-Air Modular Missile Extended Range (CAMM-ER) air defence missile, validating the high-performance of the system.

CAMM-ER completes major trials milestone

The trials have been conducted in the past months and saw a series of successful firings of CAMM-ER that proved the performance of the missile at extended ranges and high altitudes while conducting a number of challenging manoeuvres.

CAMM-ER is the extended range member of the new-generation CAMM air defence family of weapons. All members of the CAMM family share the same cutting-edge active radar seeker and soft-launch system, with CAMM-ER featuring a larger rocket motor to provide extended range out beyond 40 km/25 miles.

CAMM and CAMM-ER form the basis for MBDA’s Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solutions (EMADS) offering. EMADS brings together best-of-breed systems and technologies from across MBDA’s European base to save time, development costs and provide a flexible system for air defence provision. CAMM-ER, meant to replace the existing Aspide munition, is expected to be integrated in the Air Defence system of the Italian Air Force and Italian Army. CAMM-based air defence systems are known as Land Ceptor and Sea Ceptor by the British Army and Royal Navy. The Italian Navy is also evaluating how to include the missile family with its future surface combatants.

MBDA has successfully completed a series of trials of the CAMM-ER air defence missile, validating the high-performance of the system

SPIKE Missile

November 18, 2019 – Eurospike, a joint venture between Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., Diehl Defence GmbH & Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH has signed a multi-year framework contract for the supply of SPIKE (also known as Mehrrollenfähige Leichte Lenkflugkörpersystem – Multirole-capable Light Anti-tank Missile System, MELLS in Germany) Missiles & launchers to the German Army. The missiles and launchers will be manufactured in Germany by local German companies, in keeping with RAFAEL’s global policy of teaming up with domestic industry, resulting in knowledge transfer and local job creation.

German Army acquires 1500 SPIKE missiles and hundreds of launchers

The contract was signed by representatives from Eurospike and Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) in a ceremony that took place at the beginning of November in the offices of the German MOD (BAAINBw) in Koblenz Germany.

As part of the framework contract, the first order was made for the supply of 1500 SPIKE rounds, as well as hundreds of RAFAEL’S new ICLU (Integrated Control Launch Unit) dismounted missile launchers.

The multi-year framework contract will allow the Bundeswehr to continue procuring additional SPIKE Missiles in the next few years to reach its goal of high launcher-to-missile ratio.

The German Army is already currently using both the dismounted portable SPIKE (MELLS) launcher as well the as the vehicle-mounted launcher on the German army Puma, Marder & Wiesel.

SPIKE is a cutting-edge precise, multi-platform, multi-mission and multi-range electro-optical missile Family, with capabilities of fire-and-forget, as well as fire, observe and update, allowing attack of hidden targets.

With 33 SPIKE missile users around the world, Germany is among 19 other SPIKE users in the EU and NATO. More than 30,000 SPIKE missiles have been supplied worldwide to-date, with over 5500 SPIKE missile firings, both in training and in combat.

Moshe Elazar, EVP, Head of RAFAEL’s Land and Naval Division: «This is a significant contract for Eurospike and thus for RAFAEL, as a leading supplier of 5th generation ATGM in the world. It will undoubtedly cement the German Army’s position as one of the strongest ATGM forces in Europe. The SPIKE missile and launcher cross-nation commonality enables the nations to manage joint SPIKE missile stocks, create joint procurement and maintain mutual support. In combination with local production within Europe by Eurospike, SPIKE is a truly common European missile».

Rafael’s SPIKE LR2 5th Gen tactical multipurpose, multi-platform missile is engaging a tank in high trajectory top attack

Peregrine missile

Raytheon Company is developing a new medium-range, air-launched weapon called the Peregrine missile that is half the size and cost of today’s air-to-air missiles, yet delivers greater range and effect.

Raytheon unveils Peregrine advanced air-to-air missile

Developed to strengthen the capabilities of current fighter aircraft, the new, smaller Peregrine missile is faster and more maneuverable than legacy medium-range, air-to-air missiles, and doubles the weapons loadout on a variety of fighter platforms. Its sophisticated, miniaturized guidance system can detect and track targets at any time of day and in any weather condition.

«Peregrine will allow U.S. and allied fighter pilots to carry more missiles into battle to maintain air dominance», said Doctor Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. «With its advanced sensor, guidance and propulsion systems packed into a much smaller airframe, this new weapon represents a significant leap forward in air-to-air missile development».

The Peregrine missile benefits from military off-the-shelf components, additive manufacturing processes and readily available materials to offer an affordable solution for countering current and emerging airborne threats.

The Peregrine missile is a small, fast, lightweight air-to-air weapon for use against drones, manned aircraft and cruise missiles. Through the use of additive manufacturing and readily available materials, it effectively doubles the number of missiles current fighter jets can carry, at a significantly lower cost than current weapons.

The new, smaller Peregrine is faster and more maneuverable than legacy medium-range, air-to-air missiles. Its relatively compact airframe, weighing just over 150 pounds/68 kg and is about 6 feet/183 cm long, offers greater flexibility and precision.

Peregrine can seek out and engage targets in spite of bad weather in the battlespace. Its sophisticated sensor, guidance and propulsion systems can detect and track moving or stationary targets at any time of day and in challenging weather conditions.

The system’s compact airframe doubles the weapons loadout on current aircraft, allowing U.S. and allied fighter pilots to carry more missiles into battle to achieve air dominance. It can be easily integrated on today’s fourth- and fifth-generation fighter jets and is compatible with current launch gear.

Air defence solution

MBDA and PGZ have unveiled at MSPO 2019 an air defence solution that features MBDA’s Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) iLauncher integrated with a Polish Jelcz 8×8 truck chassis.

MBDA, PGZ showcase CAMM air defence solution on Jelcz vehicle

The two parties also re-confirm the will expressed in the Strategic Partnership Agreement for Missile Technology signed 2 February 2017 between PGZ-MBDA for co-operation on missile programmes.

Based around the CAMM family of interceptors, the MBDA proposed co-operation contains a very high level of Polish content and will see extensive transfer of technology and know-how with both the missile and iLauncher being progressively built in Poland. If selected the joint PGZ-MBDA solution offers the best solution for Polish industry and sovereignty.

Sebastian Chwałek, Deputy CEO of PGZ, said: «Implementation of the Narew programme by PGZ is fundamental for our future and the security of Poland. This is why we are demonstrating that there are no limitations for us in foreign co-operation. By joining our competences in communication and command systems, which are key for air defence, with our foreign partners’ missile technologies, we are ready to deliver a final product to the contracting party in a short time».

Jan Grabowski, MBDA’s Delegate in Poland, said: «This further deepening of the relationship between PGZ and MBDA is a great success for European defence co-operation. CAMM provides the Polish military and Polish industry with the best capabilities and technologies available on the world market, and the benefits of a true, European, partnership on missile technologies. Co-operation on CAMM is key to enabling deep co-operation on further missile programmes».

The CAMM family represent the latest generation of air defence technology. Utilising a next-generation active radar seeker and soft-launch technologies, CAMM is able to rapidly defeat large numbers of the most challenging modern air threats and is suitable for both land and maritime applications.